- Discuss the functions of tower houses in Britain and Irela...
Discuss the functions of tower houses in Britain and Ireland, using examples from different regions. Illustrate your essay with specific examples.
Tower House was a fortified medieval residence of multiple
storeys built with the purpose of defending against attacks. They
were basically types of castle. They were usually built of stone
and were quadrangular in design. The tower houses were abundantly
built in the late history of castle-building and were spread
throughout the landscape (Donnelly, 1996; Hull, 2009).
The tower houses and military castles both were built in the
medieval times for the purpose of defense; however, the major
difference was that tower houses were equipped with dwelling
facilities as well. They were fortified residences. There main
purpose was the protection of people from riots, disputes, raider
and thefts (Danachair, 1977). With defense measures to resist
petty, small time plunderers rather than marching armies, they were
country seat of their time, marked by everyday domestic activities
and administration of the estate (Donnelly, 1996).
Cowd Castle in Ardglass, Ireland is also a significant group of
tower-houses in the medieval Northern Ireland. Cowd was a small
squarish tower house built in the fifteenth or sixteenth century,
constructed out of split stone rubble with a battered base. The
inside of the tower house had two floors and an attic. There were
narrow loops found on the ground level. At the first level, there
were two windows with window seats found as well. It is perceived
that in the original form, the tower was connected to the town wall
and a door at the west wall at ground level was later inserted. The
floors were accessed by the stairs in the wall thickness (Northern
Ireland Environmental Agency, 2009).
To sum up, the tower houses were constructed widely between the
14th and 17th century in different regions
such as Ireland, Scotland, Italy, France, Northern England, etc.
The main purpose of the structure was to provide land owners safety
of life and property as well as provide them the luxury of domestic
life. These tower houses provided security against plunderers and
raids, but not against actual warfare. There construction continued
till 17th century, when the building designs changed to
thin walled fortified house with defense mechanism, after which the
construction stopped altogether (Donnelly, 1996).